Daily Readings & Thought for July 4th. “THE LORD LOOKS ON THE HEART”
“How long will you grieve over Saul, since I have rejected him from being king…” This is how our chapter 16 in 1 Samuel starts. It describes how Samuel was directed to anoint a king whom God had chosen – that God had rejected the one who had not developed a relationship with him, a relationship in his heart! Saul’s relationship with him was only superficial. There are very meaningful lessons for us here.
Samuel is told to go to the house of Jesse in Jerusalem and “anoint for me him whom I declare to you.” [v.3] Samuel thinks his eldest son is a likely prospect “But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.” [v.7] This verse provides a pertinent lesson for those doing their best to be genuine and faithful believers. Most will know the account of what follows, all the sons of Jesse are presented before Samuel one by one, but, says Samuel, “The LORD has not chosen these.” [v.10]
There is one more, “the youngest, but behold, he is keeping the sheep.” [v.11] It would appear he was of little account in the family home: but what lessons this son learnt out in the fields, especially by night! What insight and faith he developed! “The LORD is my shepherd … He makes me lie down in green pastures… He restores my soul. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.” [Psa. 23 v.1-4]
And what about Psalm 8! “O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name … When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him …” [v.1-4] Yet, wonderfully, far beyond our comprehension, “The LORD looks on the heart”– looking to see who is seeking to have a real relationship with him – and with His Son! The foundation for this, as with David, is our wonder and awe at contemplating God’s creative work, meditating also on the words of Jesus we read this morning, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” [Matt 5 v.6]